Students accused of sexual misconduct in college in Vermont are likely to find that their school's hearing and investigation procedure are not designed to allow them to defend against the allegation. Instead, colleges seem like they aim to score a conviction, particularly when the allegation is a Title IX violation.
If you have been accused of a code of conduct or Title IX violation in Vermont, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) can help to protect your rights from your school's overreach. Hiring a lawyer to write an effective OCR complaint can make a huge difference.
What is the Office for Civil Rights?
The Office for Civil Rights is an agency in the U.S. Department of Education whose job it is to enforce federal laws that protect students in higher education. This includes your right to due process if you have been accused of a serious violation, like sexual misconduct.
If you feel that your school has violated your rights, you can file a complaint with the OCR within 180 days and urge them to take action and enforce the law.
OCR Investigations Can Make a Difference
If the OCR is convinced by your complaint, the agency will conduct an independent investigation that scrutinizes all of the allegations you made in your complaint. While this often mirrors your college's investigation, the independence of the OCR's effort is crucially important.
If the OCR investigation reveals that your school violated your federal or due process rights, mediation is often the next step. If your school drags its feet or refuses to come to the mediation table and negotiate a resolution, it can face administrative penalties that can keep it from receiving federal funding.
Retaliation Can Lead to Another OCR Investigation
One of the most important aspects of an OCR investigation is that your school cannot retaliate against you or intimidate you while it is going on. If your school takes action against you, it can serve as a sufficient reason for another OCR complaint and another investigation into your school's conduct.
The Facilitated Resolution Process in Vermont
Most schools, however, want to settle cases as soon as the OCR becomes involved. To promote this outcome, the OCR provides the process of Facilitated Resolution Between the Parties. While the agency does not push for certain outcomes or endorse a resolution, if your school violates the agreement they signed during the Facilitated Resolution process, you can file another OCR complaint and create another investigation into your school's conduct.
Vermont's Title IX and OCR Complaint Attorney
Joseph D. Lento is a student discipline defense lawyer who represents students accused of disciplinary violations and Title IX infractions. In many cases, it can be helpful to draw the OCR into the case and work for your defense.
Attorney Lento can help make that happen.
By helping to craft a persuasive and broad OCR complaint, Joseph D. Lento can help aggrieved students protect their rights and future from their college's aggressive prosecution. Contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686 for the legal help you need.
Vermont colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help you or your student file a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Bennington College
- Castleton State College
- Champlain College
- College of St Joseph
- Community College of Vermont
- Goddard College
- Green Mountain College
- Johnson State College
- Landmark College
- Lyndon State College
- Marlboro College
- Middlebury College
- Norwich University
- Saint Michael's College
- Southern Vermont College
- Sterling College
- University of Vermont
- Vermont Technical College
Students and parents at times do not realize until after a finding of responsibility and the imposition of adverse sanctions that sexual misconduct allegations at college can result in severe consequences academically and professionally and in the short and long-term. The earlier the necessary steps are taken to address a Title IX case, the better, because these are cases that can be won at the school-level. There are times, however, that the help of the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (DOE-OCR) is needed and Joseph D. Lento has a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at colleges and universities throughout the nation and has helped many clients seek recourse with the DOE-OCR. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who helps students in Vermont with DOE-OCR Title IX complaints, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Vermont and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.